CINDY PHILLIPS, ET AL.
RURAL METRO OF TENNESSEE, L.P., ET AL.
Session August 9, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Loudon County No. 2015-cv-95
Michael S. Pemberton, Judge
granted an interlocutory appeal pursuant to Tenn. R. App. P.
9 in this case to consider whether the allegations set forth
in the Complaint make this a 'health care liability
action' as defined by Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-26-101
et seq. ("the Tennessee Health Care Liability
Act") such that the pre-suit notice and certification
requirements set forth in Tenn. Code Ann. §§
29-26-121 and - 122 are applicable. We find and hold that the
allegations set forth in the Complaint filed in this case do
not make this suit a health care liability action as defined
by the Tennessee Health Care Liability Act. We affirm that
portion of the judgment of the Circuit Court for Loudon
County ("the Trial Court") finding and holding that
the allegations set forth in the Complaint filed in this case
do not make this suit a health care liability action as
defined by the Tennessee Health Care Liability
R. App. P. 9 Interlocutory Appeal; Judgment of the Circuit
Court Affirmed, in part; Case Remanded
Edward Pratt and Andrew J. Droke, Knoxville, Tennessee for
the appellants, Rural Metro of Tennessee, L.P.; Rural Metro
Corporation; and R/M of Tennessee G.P., Inc.
Stephen Marcum, Huntsville, Tennessee, for the appellant,
Jeffrey H. Glaspie and Gary L. Adkins, Knoxville, Tennessee,
for the appellees, Cindy Phillips and Hobart Phillips.
MICHAEL SWINEY, C.J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which CHARLES D. SUSANO, JR. and JOHN W. MCCLARTY, JJ.,
MICHAEL SWINEY, CHIEF JUDGE
29, 2014, Charles Ray Phillips ("Deceased") was
killed in a motor vehicle accident in Loudon County,
Tennessee. Deceased suffered severe, extensive burns
in the accident. Authorities at the accident site placed a
call to Loudon County ambulance service and a Rural Metro
ambulance responded. After arriving at the scene of the
accident and seeing the condition of Deceased's body, the
ambulance employees refused to transport Deceased's
remains to a hospital. Allegedly, one of the ambulance
employees stated he did not want Deceased to "stink up
the ambulance." Deceased's body remained by the
roadside until an out-of-county ambulance could be summoned
to transport Deceased's body. Local media reported the
story including the comment about stinking up the ambulance.
parents, Cindy Phillips and Hobart Phillips
("Plaintiffs"), sued Rural Metro of Tennessee,
L.P.; Rural Metro Corporation; and R/M of Tennessee G.P.,
Inc. (collectively "Rural Metro"), Johnathan Moore
("Moore"), and John Doe I & II alleging
intentional infliction of emotional distress. In their
Complaint, Plaintiffs allege: "The conduct of the
defendants in this cause of action greatly magnified their
grief and distress in a manner that is nearly
incomprehensible. In addition to the loss of a child, they
were reminded regularly in the news that [Deceased] was left
by the roadway so as to not 'stink up the
Metro and Moore filed motions to dismiss alleging, among
other things, that this suit was one for health care
liability and that the failure to file a pre-suit notice and
a certificate of good faith pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann.
§§ 29-26-121 and -122 was fatal to the action. The
Trial Court denied the motion finding, in part, that this is
not a health care liability action. The Trial Court then
granted Rural Metro and Moore permission to ...